YMCA CEO Mike LaChance Honored by Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness

YMCA of Greater Nashua’s CEO Mike LaChance was honored at the New Hampshire State House by the Governor’s Council on Physical Activity and Health with the 2018 Outstanding Achievement Award for his work throughout the years in improving the health of the greater Nashua community.

In Photo (left to right): Susan DeSocio – CEO of Foundation Medical Partners; Janet Valuk – Project Director for the Nashua Prevention Coalition; Dr. Albee Budnitz – MD for Southern NH Health; YMCA CEO Mike LaChance; Patty Crooker – PHNS/SNS Coordinator, Greater Nashua Public Health Department; Bobbie Bagley – Director of Public Health & Community Services, City of Nashua; and YMCA of Greater Nashua’s Chief Operating Officer Joseph Manzoli. Dr. Albee Budnitz was also honored today.

We are extremely fortunate to have Mike’s leadership guide our cause of strengthening the community and he is incredibly deserving of being recognized by that community. Mr. LaChance was nominated by Bobbie Bagley, Director of Public Health and Community Services for the City of Nashua.

In her nomination, Ms. Bagley noted, “Mike LaChance is a visionary and a forerunner in creating a healthy community for all. I met Mike in 2007, when he reached out to the City of Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services as a co-applicant for a grant that would create a partnership between the YMCA to address increasing physical activity and improving overall health in the community. I was the Manager of the Community Health Department at the time and was very impressed with his innovative thinking and philosophy of partnership to focus on primary prevention efforts to improve the health of community by preventing factors such as hypertension and obesity that can lead to diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Although we did not get this grant, Mike understood the importance of the YMCA in playing a role as a part of the overall public health system supporting one of the essential services of public health to ensure access to services to promote better health. Mike understands the imperative of preserving wellness in the community and through the YMCA created opportunities for all residents in the City of Nashua to be able to have equitable access to the programs offered at the facility.”

She continued, “In 2011, The Division of Public Health and Community Services (DPHCS) conducted a Community Health Assessment to assess the health of the community and identify priority health issues. Through this assessment, obesity and being overweight were identified as health problems for youth and adults. To develop strategies to improve the health of our community, a Community Health Improvement plan was written and work groups were established. Mike served as the lead of the Obesity Work Group and facilitated meetings with representatives from the community which included the Mayor, hospital CEOs, the Division Director and staff of the health department, the Dean of a Nursing Program and several other leaders in business and other non-profit organizations.  The work that came out of this group lead to creating community gardens, identifying a safe walking trail to promote increased physical activity and working with “Bodegas” and corner stores to increase the availability of fresh produce to create greater access for purchase. A wall mural of the “Giant Girl” was painted in the downtown neighborhood along the walking trail near one of the community gardens as a visual to remind the community of the benefits of gardening and eating healthy. As a part of the initiatives that came out of the Obesity Work Group, Mike shared a staff person, who would work at the DPHCS to do a program called 5-2-1-0 in the grammar schools. The data collected and analyzed from this program was used to demonstrate an increase in youth understanding of the importance of physical activity.”

“It’s a pleasure to accept this award on behalf of my colleagues of the YMCA, our volunteer Board leadership, and the community partners who have been eager to work collectively. This is a collaborative community, and as such our work together has made a positive impact on our citizens, most specifically, those who need a voice and more opportunities for well-being,” said Mike LaChance.

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